Use this forgiveness children’s message with older kids to help them understand what Jesus did for them.
Age Level: 10 to 12
Activity Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Materials: Bible, bandages, fine-tipped permanent markers, and 3×5 cards
Help kids experience this lesson on forgiveness as they think about Jesus’ suffering on our behalf.
Have preteens form a circle. Give kids each a marker and a 3×5 card, and ask them to think about the times they’ve been hurt by someone else’s actions. As they think of those times, have them draw a symbol of the hurt on the 3×5 card.
Read aloud Matthew 6:14. Ask, “Why is it sometimes difficult to forgive someone who’s caused you pain? Has someone else forgiven you for hurting him or her? Explain. How did it feel to be forgiven? How does it feel to forgive someone else?”
Have kids cross out the symbols that represent anyone they’ve honestly forgiven and count the remaining symbols. Give each preteen a bandage for each remaining symbol, and have kids write each symbol for a hurt they haven’t yet forgiven on a bandage.
Form pairs. Have kids help each other put their own bandages on their faces, arms, and legs-wherever skin is exposed. Then have kids leave their bandages on for the remainder of the class.
Say, “These bandages remind us of those we haven’t yet forgiven. It’s true that the longer we wait to forgive someone, the harder and more painful it is for us. Jesus forgave all our sins and he tells us to forgive those who sin against us.”
Just before class ends, have partners remove each other’s bandages and pray together for a heart for forgiveness. Then thank God for forgiveness and for Jesus’ great sacrifice.
Cheryl Little Keansburg, New Jersey